Ding dong, the dump is (almost) dead!

Nov 20, 2009

By Dale Goldhawk

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Hooray!  A stake has been driven decisively through the heart of DumpSite 41, the vampire landfill project threatening to suck up some of the purest water on earth from the Alliston Aquifer. The stake was wielded by Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop whose private member’s bill revoking the certificate of approval for dump Site 41 passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature by a vote of 40 to 11.

 The bill will now make its way through the committee process at Queen’s Park and then to third reading and passage in the Legislature. While this could take time, it would take a monumental train wreck along the way to throw off the rails the final destruction of this dumb dump. With a House vote of 40 to 11, the CofA for Site 41 is on the way to the shredder and, hopefully, recycling into something useful.

Cabinet Ministers Donna Cansfield (Natural Resources) and Jim Bradley (Transportation)   joined those voting in favor of the bill. Good for them. (Now if Minister Bradley would save Shakespeare from Highway 7 and 8 – but that’s another story…)

Just to help ensure the end of this long and difficult fight, Mr. Dunlop asks for people to pressure government to move the bill to committee and passage. He says “I don’t want it buried.” Nice turn of phrase, Garfield.

People power works wonderfully well. MPP Dunlop says his colleaques, including McGuinty’s Liberals, were telling him of the large numbers of emails and phone calls they were taking over Site 41. He warned them, the calls and letters won’t stop coming because the landfill is dead, dead, dead in the public mind.

Most of us are surprised and disappointed that Environment Minister John Gerretsen apparently can’t see the handwriting on every wall but his. He seems to be sticking to the ridiculous story that science proves the site is acceptable. This despite the fact that the engineer who did all the site studies, along with the MOE, won’t release findings in the face of an order by Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner.

MPP Dunlop counters,  “It’s not OK. We think we have enough background and expertise. We have the Steve Ogdens of the world who are saying there’s another choice.” Steve Ogden is one of thousands of Simcoe County residents who battled Site 41 – some at the risk of heavy-handed legal action.

Garfield Dunlop says, about the engineering study and, particularly, the part called the Modflow,  “I hope the county will look at that in a more positive manner and hand over the information so we can look at it.”

If his bill as proposed were to become law, it would prohibit the disposal of waste at Site 41, revoke the Certificate of Approval, extinguish causes of action concerning the site, and entitle the County of Simcoe to compensation from the Province if the Legislature approves the expense paid by the county.

While this is Garfield Dunlop’s private member’s bill and he deserves a good deal of credit for it, don’t forget it was citizens at the very grass roots that really caused the current moratorium for Site 41 and who will bring about its final demise. It was people that attended rallies and sat in the sun and rain outside this dumpsite to protest. It was people who were arrested for exercising their right to speak out. It was people.  Don’t forget any of them because they are us.

Meanwhile, Barrie Liberal MPP Aileen Carroll, minister of culture and the minister responsible for seniors, said the government cannot unilaterally revoke the certificate of approval because it was issued to the county and the county must ask for revocation. Give us a break, MPP Carroll. The minister could do it with a stroke of the pen and should have done this long ago. And, to Simcoe Council: ask the minister now to get out his pen. Take that final step before the province does it for you.

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